Why we become Angry

Why we become Angry – an introduction

Why we become angry – when we get angry we often shout. Most times it is best if we master the anger and do not hurt others

There are five primary emotions Anger is considered by psychologists to be one of them. The other four are happiness, sadness, fear and disgust. These five make you feel as an immediate response to any situation. These are the basis of why we become angry.

When you feel threatened or mistreated; have feelings of jealousy, guilt or embarrassment can cause anger or even rage. Threats do not have to be physical – being slapped or pushed by someone. They can be psychological, like being fired from work which often triggers anger as it is threat to your life and well being from a financial pint of view.

We experience anger as a natural response, but when the anger develops into aggression it becomes a problem. For many people anger may be released by just shouting – maybe at someone who is close to us.  Some seek release through physical violence, leading to serious problems in a family, at work or other social situations. Men most often express their anger through aggressive behaviour, but it is becoming much more common for women to do the same.

Why we become angry – the causes of anger and aggression


We evolved from early, some would say primitive, hunter-gatherers. They had hard and aggressive lives – it was often kill or be killed. Their physical, behavioural and psychological traits adapted to this environment over many thousands of years. It gave them the greatest chance of surviving the hardships and reproducing. They encountered animal attacks and invasion of their territory. These could be confronted by fighting or avoided by running away, (the ‘fight or flight’ response). These responses were crucial to human survival and they are still ingrained in all human behaviour – we are still adapted to being hunter-gatherers. So, when a threat is encountered we are immediately prepared for either ‘fight or flight’. This is why even non-physical threats such as jealousy can cause heart rate to increase, sweating and muscle tension.


We are in the 21st century but men are ‘hard-wired’ as hunter-gatherers so feel pressure from society to be the stereotypical man. They are driven to portray strength, dominance, be control, defend and have independence. Problems arise in situations which cause anger in men, (and women), and their hunter-gatherer instincts are awoken they find themselves trying to resolve a situation with aggression. In the modern world we need to deal with problems through other means like talking, relaxing or exercising.

external events can make us become angry

We can become angry due to the action of others including our parents

This is especially true in male-dominated environments where there is peer pressure to ‘man-up’.

Western society is becoming more and more drinking focused. There is a massive link between alcohol and aggression; about half of all violent crimes are by someone who is drunk. Also around a third of all violent incidents occur in or around pubs and other places that sell alcohol.

Why? – Alcohol ‘sedates’ self control, so increases stupid behaviour and changes perceptions of dangerous situations. All of which are can be involved in starting fights.


People are more prone to anger problems if they experienced abuse as a child. This abuse can be physical or psychological. Such individuals are usually on ‘high alert’ for perceived threats towards them. Due to their experiences of abuse they are likely to interpret innocent situations as threatening and react defensively or with anger. Others may consider the aggressive response as an overreaction due to the situation. This is due different interpretations of what is considered a threat.

Growing up in an environment in which adults, especially role models, used aggression as an outlet for anger increases the likelihood that any children will do the same.

Specific events

Job loss usually triggers anger as it threatens financial security. This is true for men and women, whichever is the primary earners in the family and so often feel the burden of job loss the most.

Similarly, any other situations which are interpreted as containing some form of threat or injustice may be reacted to with aggressive outbursts.

As you can see there are many aspects to why we become angry in the modern world.